Michigan International Speedway

Scan All: Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway (video)

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On Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR America and in our weekly Scan All feature, we relived the sights and sounds from Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 that saw Kyle Larson take the checkered flag there for the third consecutive race.

In an interesting irony, Larson got probably the best restart of his life to win the race.

But to start the race, it was a whole different story.

“I dropped anchor at the start and got probably the worst start of my life,” Larson said. Catch more of his comments and those of other drivers and teams in this week’s edition of Scan All.

Steve Letarte: Kyle Larson laid foundation for Michigan win earlier in race (video)

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We all know how Kyle Larson made the race-winning move on the final restart of Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.

But on Tuesday’s NASCAR America, NASCAR on NBC analyst Steve Letarte said Larson laid the foundation for the win even earlier in the race.

“While that last restart was very impressive, and without a doubt was the moment that the 42 actually won the race, I think it started way earlier in the race,” Letarte said. “About the 75 percent mark, we had a lot of leaders running on the race track under green and it was pretty stretched out.

“The 78 of Martin Truex Jr., who at this point looked like he had the race under control, came to pit road for four tires. He drew the 2 of Brad Keselowski with him, but not the 42 (Larson). The (42 crew) decided to leave the 42 on the racetrack, stuck with their guns and strategy, and it ended up paying off.

“When the 22 came to pit road and debris from his car created the next-to-last yellow, that was an important point because that’s what the 42 needed. The decision to pit was pretty easy for fuel, but I think the tough decision was how many tires. (Crew chief) Chad Johnston made a very gutsy move, he put four tires and I think that made a big difference.”

 

NASCAR America: Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones continue Rookie of the Year battle (video)

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The battle for Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Cup Series has become a tight race between Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones.

Jones closed the gap between Suarez and himself with Sunday’s third-place finish in the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Suarez, meanwhile, was involved in a hard wreck with Kasey Kahne that knocked both of them out of the race.

On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, our analysts discussed not only the battle between Suarez and Jones, but also their chances of making the upcoming NASCAR Cup playoffs.

NASCAR America: Kyle Larson’s winning restart at Michigan was all about timing (video)

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Leading up to the final restart of Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway, Kyle Larson weighed a number of options on what to do when the green flag fell.

He was afraid he might make the wrong choice, but as it turned out, he made the right decision and went on to win his third consecutive Cup race at MIS.

Our panelists on Monday’s edition of NASCAR America talked about what Larson potentially faced and how he was smart and savvy in making his move at the right time — and the rest is history.

NASCAR on rumors it would take additional cars after Michigan: Gotcha!

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All that talk that NASCAR would take more cars after Sunday’s Cup race at Michigan to see how they compared?

A ruse.

So said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, Monday on “The Morning Drive.’’

“We actually found it kind of comical this weekend,’’ O’Donnell said of the chatter that NASCAR would take more cars after Michigan. “We put a little bit of the rumor out there, and candidly it worked.

“If anyone would have done some serious research, the wind tunnel that we would use for this is under construction this week so it would have been impossible.’’

Brad Keselowski said Friday that Toyotas were sandbagging at Michigan because of the expectation that NASCAR would take more cars after the race. Toyotas led 88.2 percent of the laps in the five races leading up to Michigan.

“We had a strong suspicion that those guys (Toyota) would kind of tune it down this weekend, so not to post a pretty big number in inspection that maybe balanced back out the competition,” Keselowski said after winning the pole. “And potentially that’s right because our team hasn’t done much differently and those guys are just not as fast as they’ve been the last few weeks.”

Kyle Busch responded to Keselowski’s comments by telling ESPN on Saturday: “Brad’s a (expletive) moron. We don’t just turn it down. We actually have a new engine package here this week. He’s a moron.’’

Keselowski told NBCSN before Sunday’s race that Toyota’s performance last weekend at Michigan seemed “fishy.’’

“NASCAR typically takes the cars from the field, the best cars from the field and checks to see where everybody is at performance-wise about three or four times a year,’’ Keselowski told NBCSN. “Usually those weekends are either Indianapolis, Pocono or Michigan. Well they couldn’t do it at Indianapolis because most of the field wrecked and there weren’t any cars to check, and I don’t know why it wasn’t done at Pocono.

“So the whole field knows today that the cars are probably going to be pulled and go through a little bit of extra inspection. That doesn’t mean that anyone is cheating by any means. This is a chance for NASCAR to level the playing field and see who is where in the development cycles. I think everybody knows that.’’

NASCAR did not take any additional cars.

“We’re not going to telegraph when we’re going to do that at a certain race track,’’ O’Donnell said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We always want to make sure that we’ve got the best information possible, particularly the aerodynamics of the car, so we’ll continue to do that.

“A lot of politicking going out there and I think that will continue as it gets closer to the playoffs. There’s a lot on the line, a lot of different winners, and that’s actually kind of cool to see because people care and they want to do all they can to win.’’

Keselowski led a race-high 105 laps before finishing 17th. Kyle Larson passed Martin Truex Jr. on the restart in overtime to win. Truex led Toyota by finishing second.

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